The Ontario Hockey League has made a few changes to the rule book for the 2019-20 season.

New this year are expanded video reviews of major and match penalties as well as offside plays.  The OHL is also introducing Coach’s Challenges for goaltender interference.

Penalty Reviews

OHL referees will now have the option to take another look at major or match penalties to confirm the severity of the call and ensure the right player is penalized.  Major and match penalties may be reduced or eliminated via review.  Penalties cannot be increased or added based on video review.  From the OHL:

Based on their discretion, referees and linesmen will have access to video review to ensure that the correct call on the ice was made as it relates to the assessment of major/match penalties as well as offside situations when a goal has been scored.

In the case of an assessed major or match penalty, referees shall automatically review such infraction on the tablet in the penalty box to substantiate the call (including whether such penalty was assessed to the correct player) or to reduce it to a double minor penalty (in the case of checking from behind), a two-minute penalty or no penalty at all. The use of enhanced video replay shall not be utilized to assess penalties that were not called in the first instance nor shall it be utilized to increase the severity of the major penalty called.

Offside Reviews

Following the NHL’s lead, the OHL is implementing the ability to confirm that a play was onside prior to a goal being scored.  Unlike the NHL, this one is up to the officials. The Ontario Hockey League is not putting the offside challenge into the coaches’ hands.

Instead, it’s the on-ice officials’ call whether or not to review the play.

Coach’s Challenge: Goaltender Interference

Ontario Hockey League coaches will now be able to issue a challenge for goaltender interference.  Teams can only challenge the play if they have a timeout available.  Failed challenges result in a loss of the timeout.  Teams who challenge successfully retain their timeout, as well as the ability to issue another challenge if desired.  From the league:

Each OHL member team shall have the ability to initiate a “coach’s challenge” in situations where goaltender interference is involved in a “goal” or “no goal” call. Accessing video tablets in the penalty box, referees will be enabled to issue a ruling in the event of a coach’s challenge.

A team may only request a coach’s challenge for interference on the goaltender if they have their timeout available and the coach’s challenge must be effectively initiated prior to the resumption of play. If the coach’s challenge does not result in the original call on the ice being overturned, the team exercising such a challenge will forfeit its timeout. If the coach’s challenge does result in the call on the ice being overturned, the team successfully exercising such challenge will retain their ability to challenge an additional call for goaltender interference and will retain its timeout. Only one coach’s challenge per team, per stoppage will be permitted.

While the new rules are in place, they won’t be enforced to start the season.  The OHL is holding off on implementation until the each of the OHL’s 20 arenas are outfitted with the necessary technological enhancements needed to allow the reviews.

“We brought in additional cameras above the bluelines to assist in video replay […] of offsides, so those cameras will be installed in addition to the tablets and the Wi-Fi that needs to be in place for the tablets in the penalty box,” said OHL Vice President Ted Baker.

The upgrades are expected to be completed for all buildings in October.